President Trump Thursday addressed the 66th annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, emphasizing “faith is central to American life and to liberty” and affirming our “rights are not given to us by man; our rights come from our Creator.”
The White House later released a list of faith-related initiatives the president has undertaken in his first year in office.
“Our founders invoked our Creator four times in the Declaration of Independence,” Trump said at the prayer breakfast. “Our currency declares, ‘In God We Trust.’ And we place our hands on our hearts as we recite the Pledge of Allegiance and proclaim we are ‘One Nation Under God.'”
He noted “the words ‘Praise be to God’ are etched atop the Washington Monument, and those same words are etched into the hearts of our people.”
He cited the “splendor of God’s creation” evident across America and “the story of God’s providence” throughout history.
“We see the Lord’s grace in the servicemembers who risk their lives for our freedom. We see it in the teachers who work tirelessly for their students, and the police who sacrifice for our communities – and sacrifice they do. And we see the Lord’s grace in the moms and dads who work two and three jobs to give their children the chance for a better and much more prosperous and happier life,” he said.
“As the Bible tells us, for we are God’s handiwork, created in Jesus Christ to do good works. America’s heroes rise to this calling. In their selfless deeds, they reveal the beauty and goodness of the human soul.”
He added, in prepared remarks: “All we have to do is open our eyes and look around us, and we can see God’s hand. In the courage of our fellow citizens, we see the power of God’s love at work in our souls, and the power of God’s will to answer all of our prayers.”
He cited the case of Sophia Marie Campa Peters, age 9, who suffered from a rare condition and was told she would not be able to walk.
“Just two weeks ago, Sophia needed to have a very high-risk surgery. She decided to ask the whole world to pray for her, and she hoped to reach 10,000 people,” the president said. “On January 24th, as Sophia went into surgery, she far surpassed her goal. Millions and millions of people lifted Sophia up in their prayers.
“Today, we thank God that Sophia is with us, and she’s recovering, and she’s walking very well.”
Trump said: “Let us resolve to find the best within ourselves. Let us pray for that extra measure of strength and that extra measure of devotion. And let us seek to build a more just and peaceful world, where every child can grow up without violence, worship without fear, and reach their God-given potential.”
Among Trump’s efforts to support religious freedom are the May 2017 executive order reversing an Obama administration mandate that religious Americans and their organizations, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, cannot be forced to pay for contraceptives in violation of their religious beliefs.
Trump also “announced a reversal of the Obama administration’s policy denying disaster aid to houses of worship,” the White House pointed out. He also supported students who were denied a scholarship because they attended a religious school, the Archdiocese of Washington in its effort to buy ads for the holidays on public transportation and baker Jack Phillips’ right to operate his bakery in accordance with his religious beliefs.
Trump placed Pakistan on a “Special Watch List” for its violations of religious freedom and declared Jan. 28, 2018, as Religious Freedom Day.
He also had the DOJ issue 20 principles of religious liberty and the HHS announce the creation of a Conscience and Religious Freedom Division.
On the issue of life, the president expanded the Mexico City Policy preventing tax money from being used in the global abortion industry, cut funding for the U.N. Population Fund, overturned a Obama strategy to force states to continue funding abortions and supported the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
He became the first president to speak at the March for Life and also spoke at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference and the Value Voters Summit.
“America is a nation of believers,” Trump said.